The GraceKennedy (GK) Group in collaboration with the Private Sector Vaccination Initiative (PSVI), hosted a COVID-19 vaccination blitz at its headquarters in Downtown Kingston yesterday, Tuesday, September 7, 2021. 570 participants in the blitz received either their first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose, including 67 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years. The blitz targeted GK team members and their guests. GK contractors, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force attached to the Kingston Central Division and residents of Parade Gardens and Rae Town, the communities bordering GK’s HQ, were also vaccinated at the blitz.

Jelani Wilson, son of Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation CEO, Tanketa Chance-Wilson gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at the GK blitz on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

GK Group CEO Don Wehby expressed how pleased he was with the turnout at the event, “The current status of the pandemic in Jamaica is critical, and we must do all that we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our team – and that includes getting vaccinated against COVID-19. I am so proud of those who turned out to take this important step. I believe that widespread vaccination will be vital in winning our fight against this disease. While being vaccinated against COVID-19 is not mandatory at GK, we have a responsibility to provide our team with a safe place to work, and this blitz will go a far way in doing that. We have been rolling out an internal campaign on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination across GK in the lead up to the event. I’m so glad to see that the message has inspired our team, our colleagues and friends in the community to get vaccinated.”

Last Friday, September 3, GK hosted a COVID-19 Vaccination Virtual Town Hall for its team members featuring renowned Jamaican Doctor and Professor of Public Health, Epidemiology and HIV/AIDS Peter Figueroa. Professor Figueroa presented on the effectiveness of the different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines, possible side effects and the benefits of getting vaccinated. Both Professor Figueroa and Mr Wehby encouraged those present at the Town Hall to participate in the blitz, with Mr Wehby pledging to do all that he can to ensure that GK team members wishing to get vaccinated are able to do so.

GK is scheduled to host another blitz for its team during the week of September 28, 2021 to facilitate second vaccine doses.

Marcia Henry-Lawrence, Chief Human Resources Officer of the GraceKennedy Financial Group assists the PSVI team with completing vaccination cards at the GK blitz on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Saffrey Brown, PSVI Project Lead who collaborated with GK to stage the blitz explained, “The PSVI is very pleased to be working with the GraceKennedy Group to help protect their staff and dependents from the effects of COVID-19. GK joins a growing list of corporate entities that are opting to facilitate convenient access of vaccination for their staff. We believe that the collaboration between companies and the PSVI is critical to the successful implementation of the national vaccination plan of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, because the plan requires a multi-layered approach, which includes entities carrying out vaccinations within their ecosystem, of course under the guidance of the Ministry. This is one of the ways we will help get more people vaccinated and at a faster pace.”

Michael Smith, a contractor with Grace Foods gives a thumbs up after getting vaccinated at the GK blitz on Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, GK has prioritized protecting its team against the virus and developing protocols to guide its response to the pandemic. In January 2020, a GK COVID-19 Steering Committee was established to lead these efforts and ensure that team members remain informed on developments.

In keeping with the Group’s commitment to supporting national development and helping to rebuild the local economy in the wake of the pandemic, GK has also made significant contributions towards Jamaica’s COVID-19 response. This has included multi-million-dollar donations towards the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the island’s healthcare workers, ventilators for the public health system, and digital devices for online learning. GK has also distributed care packages and meals to frontline workers and vulnerable groups through its Foundations and subsidiaries, both locally and overseas.

Participants in the GK COVID-19 vaccination blitz on Tuesday, September 7, 2021